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June 2018 marked the 24th annual Men’s Health Month, which began in 1994 with the goal of encouraging early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Among these diseases are a number of cancers that target men specifically. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that cancer mortality is 196.8 per 100,000 men.

It might come as no surprise that prostate cancer is the leading cancer risk for men, and certain risk factors are unpreventable, but this does not stand in the way of weakening or even preventing your own risk. In addition to prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, bladder cancer and melanoma are among the most common forms of cancer affecting men.

Prevention

There are a number of preventative measures available to reduce the risk of diagnosis. The most evident forms of risk reduction include a healthy diet and exercise routine and research has proven that the expected “diet and exercise” speech is not to be ignored. In fact, a study from the NCI has shown that even “leisure-time” physical activity among men with colorectal cancer has been linked to a 31 percent lower risk of death than those who were not physically active. Similarly “vigorous activity” for just three hours a week resulted in a 61 percent lower risk of death among men with non-metastatic prostate cancer.

Diet

A new diet is never easy to get used to and the marketing of so many transformative fad diets quite often subdues the much simpler ways we can adjust our palates. Food has a way of fulfilling a specific purpose in the same way that certain physical activities target areas of our bodies. The NCI suggests a diet high in calcium (about 2.5 grams/day). Here are a few familiar foods high in calcium and proven to improve colon health and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer: dark green vegetables, low-fat yogurts, spinach, white beans, peas and lentils.

On the other hand, there are certain foods that we all might be a little too familiar with. During the months of June and July the grill is no stranger to most men, but learning how to eliminate or reduce the amount of certain meats goes a long way in reducing the risk for prostate and colorectal cancer, as well. With no fiber and limited nutrients, meat often acts primarily as a source of saturated fat and sometimes cancer-causing compounds. Here are some foods to keep away from the grill this summer:

  • Red Meats: beef, pork, lamb
  • Processed Meats: hot dogs, raw sausages, lunch meats

Skin Care Matters

Of course, the grill isn’t the only thing feeling the heat in the summer. While you’ve seen what can be done to help your body’s interior, it’s true that men frequently neglect the importance of protecting their skin from harmful Ultraviolet rays. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) reports that although men are three times more likely to develop melanoma by age 80, studies show that women are more likely to know the facts. Keep yourself informed and study up! The following information from the AAD is imperative when it comes to reducing your risk of developing skin cancer:

  • There’s no such thing as a healthy tan
  • The sun is strongest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., so try to find some shade during this time
  • SPF 30+, broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen offers the most helpful protection
  • A self-skin test can be performed before seeing a dermatologist for a skin check
  • Skin cancer can develop on skin that doesn’t see a lot of sun
  • Spots that often change in size and shape should be examined

Now that you’ve received some necessary information and advice, consider yourself aware. Share your Men’s Health knowledge with any other guys who might benefit from a few dietary changes or perhaps a bit more sunscreen. With these tips, you’re equipped to fight off more than just mosquitoes in the summer. Learn more about cancer and risk factors.